ArtVan began in 2004 with the collaboration between Jamie Silvestri, an Art Therapist, and the City of Bath’s Community Development Office. The intent was to provide under-resourced Bath neighborhoods with a quality and therapeutic arts program to enrich the lives of Youth who did not have access to social services and recreational activities in Bath. Encouraged by high attendance levels, enthusiastic participants, and grateful parents, we have continued our services for 15 years, with extensive community and foundation support.
In 2006 and 2007, ArtVan expanded to the “Tree Street” low-income housing neighborhood in Lewiston, two housing developments in Auburn, a subsidized Brunswick Housing Development, and an under-resourced neighborhood of Biddeford, Maine. In June of 2011, after six years of successful programming through fiscal sponsorships, ArtVan incorporated as a State of Maine non-profit on December 2012. During this time, ArtVan’s popularity raised community awareness of our mobile services, leading to our development of Community Partnership Programs with nonprofits that serve a range of populations: seniors with dementia, teens facing homelessness, and adults with life challenges. Lacking Art Therapy components, these programs hire ArtVan to provide services on a one-time or ongoing basis. To present, ArtVan focuses on its mission work, annually serving more than 1,000 Youth.